Posted on June 18, 2020 at 8:00 am

B +
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: TV-14
Profanity: None
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Family issues
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Date Released to Theaters: June 19, 2020
Copyright 2020 Imagine Documentaries

Bryce Dallas Howard’s loving tribute to the men in our families is personal. It features her father, actor/director Ron Howard, his father, the late actor Rance Howard, who tells a beautiful and very meaningful story about then-Ronny Howard’s first day of filming on “The Andy Griffith Show,” and her brother, a soon-to-be father as the documentary begins and a happy but exhausted new dad at the end. The movie also features celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, and Will Smith with their own comments on being dads, and visits to the homes of “ordinary” but extraordinary dads, in the US and other countries, including a couple of fathers who adopted four special needs kids in six months and a stay-at-home father of four small children. Plus clips of various child and teen meltdowns that are hilarious if they are not yours. So yeah, I cried through the whole thing. My dad is awesome. So is my husband, a magnificent dad to our two children.

The celebrities are fun but the heart of the movie in every way are the dads no one outside their families may know but who are heroes in what they do every day. There have been fathers since there have been people, but the idea of what a father can and should be has changed, and this movie shows us how dads are inspired by, influenced by, and reacting to the fathering they received. The variety of dads includes not just racial, cultural, and nationality diversity but diversity in family connections, some parents still together, some not.

Today’s dads may be more involved in the moment-to-moment details of their children’s lives than some traditional briefcase or lunchbox toting dads who went to work all day and came home to dinner on the table and kids bathed and ready for bed in the old days. One of the movie’s subtle themes is the combination of what is eternal and what is changing or what can change and is decided by each of us as we grope toward our own parenting styles and how to use that style to communicate unconditional love while urging our children toward independence, gratitude, empathy, and finding a way to use their own strengths to determine their paths. This film is a heartwarming tribute to the dads who give us so much and in return get a tie, and a smudgy hand-made card. I’d just like to end this with thanks to my wonderful dad, who told me the coffee I made for his breakfast in bed on Father’s Day was so delicious he was going to bring it into the bathroom with him while he shaved. I was so proud of myself. Now, I’m proud of him.

Parents should know that this film includes depiction of special needs and health challenges and some bodily function moments.

Family discussion: Which of these dads is most like your father? Most like the father you’d like to be? How was being a father different from what these men expected? If you were creating a user guide for parents, what would it say?

If you like this, try: “The Other F Word”

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